My thoughts to myself for the day

Sound advice from Jane Wilson. File this under the category:I wish I had said this!

Box o' Ducks

  1. It’s very easy to talk about people without mentioning their names. Those who know them will know exactly who you’ve referred to, and a fair number of others will be certain you’re talking about themselves. Avoid talking about others at all costs.
  2. Those who care about us often make well-meaning suggestions for ways in which we can improve our circumstances or our state of mind. Sometimes we welcome the advice, but more often we feel as though we’re being told what to do. Always thank them for their advice, even if you have no intention of following it, and remind yourself to give unsolicited instruction only in exceptional circumstances, such as when someone is about to injure themselves.
  3. Laugh to yourself whenever you can.

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Cologne, not the City

It is obvious that the holidays are rapidly approaching. There are several reasons for this observation.

The first is the proliferation of catalogs in the mailbox. Catalogs, both familiar and unfamiliar, have shown up in our mailbox. From Harry & David to Lands End to Jackson & Perkins and others too numerous to mention, they have arrived. Frankly, a few of these arrived because orders have been placed in the past, but most aren’t.

The second is the proliferation of television specials that feature a holiday theme. Shows like A Charlie Brown Christmas and Frosty the Snowman air almost daily. And, of course, even PBS switches out their traditional programming for pledge break programs, often with a holiday theme. Of course, PBS has pledge (break) shows even when it isn’t the holiday time, but I digress.

The last reason (and the reason for the title of this post) is the proliferation of glitzy perfume and cologne commercials. While they are shown at other times of the year, it is prior to the holidays that advertisers really bring them to the forefront.

How do you recognize a perfume commercial? It’s simple. They are artistic without much to determine what the product is. The people in the commercials are dressed sumptuously, the women often wearing jewels. They are almost like mini-movies selling class and wealth. Often, for the woman, empowerment. At the end, the perfume is showcased with a breathy voice announcing the name of the perfume.

One, in particular, has caught my husband’s and my eye. The first time we saw it, I immediately said that it must be a perfume commercial.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because it’s too artsy,” I said. “Too wild, too unrealistic…”

After viewing it a few too many times, we started bantering back and forth, making a mash-up of it with another product.

First, the synopsis of the commercial: A girl is bound in strips of fabric, and she runs away breaking her bonds as she goes. The strips cling to her, trailing behind her, as she runs and breaks through a wall, setting her free. It ends with her standing on a balcony as the sun rises (or possibly, sets). Then a picture of the bottle is shown as the breathy voice-over mentions the name of the perfume. All of this to sell a new generation on this brand.

Okay, now for our warped mash-up. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a mash-up is combining two or more unrelated things together (toy manufacturers actually make toys like this). To us, the strips of fabric really look more like toilet paper. By combining a current toilet paper commercial with this one, a bear, who complains about the poor quality of the hotel’s toilet paper, is chasing a young woman down because she has the good stuff. As she runs away, she breaks free of the paper wrapped around her, escaping from the bear as he collects his toilet paper. No wonder the mother bear is justified in bringing her own toilet paper on vacation.

 

 

 

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Poetry Going Mainstream?

Apparently, it is. When I think about books of poetry, I don’t think of them as selling well. A few copies here, a few copies there, and maybe, just maybe, a hundred or so copies will be sold or given away (and those are generally well known poets like Billy Collins, Maya Angelou, or Robert Frost).

Because I volunteer at the local library, I spend more time there than most people, and I noticed that for more than a month two poetry books (The Sun and Her Flowers and Milk and Honey) have been on the New York Times bestseller list.

Frankly, most of the time the list is made up of thrillers, mysteries, and mainstream fiction written by authors who are familiar to all.  Names like John Grisham, David Baldacci, Nora Roberts, and James Patterson populate the fiction list so to see Rupi Kaur (or any poet for that matter) still on the list is just plain cool because it means that someone is purchasing a lot of poetry books, and it gives hope to those who write poetry.

As of this week, The Sun and Her Flowers‘ rank on the list was # 7, up from # 10, and Milk and Honey‘s rank was # 12, down from the previous week’s # 11 spot. Still, to have not one, but two books of poetry on the list is a real feat especially since the latter was originally published in 2014.

In fact, I was in the local bookstore the other day, and I leafed through The Sun and her Flowers, reading one or two of her poems. The poems had great range of emotion, and I suspect I may be reading more of her work. For what it is worth…

 

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Goodreads Has Not-So-Good News for Indie Authors

Eva Lesko Natielle, the author of The Memory Box, wrote this, but it is definitely worth reading her post about the new (and not improved in my opinion) Goodreads giveaway program. Thanks, Eva, for reminding us.

Eva Lesko Natiello

Copy of Eilmeldung

Anyone familiar with my book marketing coaching for indie authors, knows that I love Goodreads. After all, Goodreads has been critical to the success of many self-published authors who want to get their books noticed in a very crowded playing field.

Indie authors know this site is a great place to interact with readers. I met the readers of my very first book club on Goodreads. My self-published book was only out for a few weeks, and a reader in Oregon contacted me through Goodreads to tell me her book club was reading it (insert author fainting). Being an author from New Jersey, I was ecstatic that not only did I have a reader who was not a blood relative, they did not even live in my town! Or state! This was exciting stuff. I was so thrilled, I offered to attend their book club via Skype. The book club…

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Stamp Act?

While standing in line at the post office yesterday waiting to buy stamps, I once again noticed the board that shows available postage stamps including a commemorative stamp from American history. I wondered, not for the first time, if anyone else picks up on the irony of a stamp issued by the United States Postal Service that commemorates the Stamp Act of 1765/66.

(And yes, for history buffs, the USPS issuing stamps for postage is not quite the same thing as the Founding Fathers were protesting about the (original) Stamp Act, but sometimes,… Furthermore, I love the post office, and think that the ability to send a letter across the country for forty-nine cents is a pretty great bargain.)

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Wednesday’s Theme Music

Thanks to Michael for posting. This is for you, Connie, just in case you don’t turn on the radio.

Michael Seidel, writer

I associate this song with Thanksgiving, and as it’s the day before Thanksgiving in America, I thought I’d proffer this humorous, mellow gem from nineteen sixty-seven.

Peace out.

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The Journey of a Thousand Miles (October)

…begins with a single step. As the year continues to march to its conclusion, this pedometer geek is hopeful that the challenge (of 1000 miles) will be met. During the month, another 80 miles was logged bringing the remainder down to 106 miles.

On the other hand, in the Million Mile Marathon in a Month challenge, this pedometer geek was overly optimistic and chose the goal of the ultra-ultra marathon, which was 100 miles, and came up about 19 miles short.

Even the number of steps (206,461) was a bit lackluster, averaging 6,660 a day. While it wasn’t the worst of the year’s monthly totals, it was close. The number of aerobic steps came to a total of 63,117 steps over the course of 23 days. Only four days of 10,000 steps were managed.

On the reading front, however, results were a little better. Ten books and one novella were read. Of them, two books were nonfiction. The rest were divided among various genres: mainstream, mystery, young adult (YA), and romance. Eight authors were new to this reader, and seven of the books were read in an e-book format.

The two bookcrossing.com challenges that this reader participates in continued. The quarterly set-it-yourself challenge (SIY), which began in October, has not gone too well. At this point, only one of the fifteen books chosen for this challenge has been completed.

The other challenge, the yearly pages-read challenge, however, is going much better. The goal of 40,000 pages is more than ninety percent complete with 36,199 pages read of which 2,464 pages were read in the month. With two months remaining, the goal should be achieved.

In October, the following books were read (completed):

  A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron *

Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything  by Anne Bogel

Elegy for a Disease by Anne Finger

Over You by Christine Kersey

All Fired Up by Vivian Arend and Elle Kennedy

Mischief by Tiffany Reisz

The Distance From A to Z by Natalie Blitt

Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton

No Time Like Forever by Zoe York

Her Loyal SEAL by Caitlyn O’Leary

Sealed With a Kiss by Leeanna Morgan

The reading material was less diverse than usual. Many of the novels and the novella were contemporary romances. There was one mainstream novel as well as one mystery in the mix. Two very different nonfiction books were read. One was a memoir; the other could be described as a self-help book.

Briefly, the books will be discussed. A Dog’s Purpose is the story of a dog who keeps dying before being reborn. With each life, the dog remembers the lessons of the precious lives as he tries to discover his purpose in life. One particular reincarnation is that of Bailey, who is a dog to a young boy, Ethan. Bailey believes that being Ethan’s dog is his purpose in life, but there is more to his lives than that.

Anne Bogel’s book is a unique self-help book about learning how to understand yourself and others through various personality types such as the Meyers-Briggs, Enneagram, StrengthsFinder, and more. By understanding yourself and others, relationships may be strengthened and deepened.

Anne Finger’s memoir deals with her lifetime struggles with polio and its aftermath of post-polio syndrome during the changing culture of the Sixties. Interspersed with her life story is the history of the disease as well as various treatments inflicted upon the victims. It was an informative read and well researched.

Sue Grafton’s  Y is for Yesterday continued her Kinsey Milhone mystery series. In this one, a cold case is revived from twenty years earlier, and a current one returns to cause the private detective problems.

The rest of the novels were various contemporary romances, one of which was also considered YA. It was a second chance romance in Over You; All Fired Up was a romance with a former Army Ranger/budding entrepreneur who falls for a client. Reisz’s novella was a Halloween-themed erotic story, which is a spin-off from her Original Sinners series. Natalie Blitt’s YA romance followed two teens with a relationship built on the French language. Zoe York’s romance involves a fake relationship that turns real. The last two romances, Her Loyal SEAL and Sealed with a Kiss, have Navy SEALs as romantic leads. The former romance focused the SEAL in his role as protector whereas the latter focused on the man after his retirement from the service.

Based on these romances, there may be a new What-the-Tuck trends. Between the two romances with Navy SEALs and the Army Ranger, it appears that military special operations forces may be the new trend. This reader will be watching for more.

The asterisked title is from the SIY challenge.

 

Now, back to putting steps on the pedometer and finishing up the challenges set.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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